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{Excerpt} Critical talent is scarce (and about to become scarcer) because of three trends: the ongoing retirement of the "Baby Boom Generation", a widening skills gap, and large-scale social integration (driving rapidly changing lifestyles).

Talent management has become one of the most pressing topics in organizations (even if very few have strategies and operational programs in place with which to identify, recruit, develop, deploy, and retain the best). The competition for talent will define organizational milieus for a couple of decades to come. Springing from the three trends, several drivers fuel the emphasis:

• Workforce demographics are evolving.

• The context in which organizations conduct their operations is increasingly complex and dynamic.

• More efficient capital markets have enabled the rise of small and medium-sized organizations that offer opportunities few large organizations can match, exerting a pull across the talent spectrum.

• In knowledge economies, talent is a rapidly increasing source of value creation.

• A demonstrated correlation between talent and organizational performance exists: talented individuals drive a disproportionate share of organizational effectiveness. (Value creation extends beyond individual performance differentials.)

• Financial markets and boards of directors demand more.

• The mobility of personnel is quickening on a par with changing expectations. If talent is hard to find, it is becoming harder to keep.


Suggested Citation

Serrat, O. (2010). A primer on talent management. Washington, DC: Asian Development Bank.

Required Publisher's Statement

This article was first published by the Asian Development Bank (